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Kai Hibbard, “The Biggest Loser”, and My Suggestion to Fix the Problem

I read an article today about some problems behind the scenes at The Biggest Loser and thought I should throw in my two cents.  In the article (which I reference below), as well as on the Today show, Kai Hibbard reports that while she was on The Biggest Loser she was encouraged to engage in less-than-healthy techniques to drop weight so that the show could continue to have high weight-loss numbers, and keep good ratings.  I’ve decided to blog a bit about this because in the past it has come up several times in the office with patients.  So, here are my thoughts…

First of all, I think, in general, the show brings to light the possibility that almost anyone has the potential to make drastic life changes under the right circumstances.  I think that the participants are generally guided in the right direction in the early weeks of the show each season, but let’s face it…this is a competition, and there’s money on the line.  On more than one occasion I have discussed one of my big issues with the show with patients.  So here’s my suggestion for The Biggest Loser producers… 

Switch the format to use percentage of body fat as the benchmark, and not weight.  Many of the contestants, near the end, have lost so much body fat that they are trying not to gain muscle, and doing things like dehydrating and starving to try to keep losing weight.  If the benchmark was overall percentage of body fat, or degree of change in body fat, the contestants could continue to change their numbers by both increasing their muscle mass, and decreasing their fat mass.  I think this format would discourage starvation and dehydration attempts, and encourage more overall positive health changes. 

As usual…let me know what you think by posting your thoughts below the post…Hey, maybe the producers from The Biggest Loser will see it and make some changes…

See the original article, and the Today Show interview here: http://www.popeater.com/2010/06/21/kai-hibbard-biggest-loser?ncid=webmail

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2 thoughts on “Kai Hibbard, “The Biggest Loser”, and My Suggestion to Fix the Problem

    1. I still watch it from time to time, but after the first half of the season, as some of the contestants get more fit, it really gets frustrating. If they would track the changes in their percentage of body fat it would be so much better…and send the right message to the viewers.

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